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Activision Has No Plans To Release A Guitar Hero Game In 2016

by Brian Shea on Apr 20, 2015 at 02:20 PM

One of the biggest complaints Guitar Hero fans had during the series' original run was that Activision and the many development studios working on the franchise were flooding the market with retail releases, running the series and its genre into the ground. During a recent meeting with Activision, I asked the publisher what it was doing to ensure the series and the genre has more viability this time around.

Tyler Michaud, senior director of product management at Activision, was candid in his answer. "It is not in our plan to put out a new disc in 2016," he tells us. "When you look at what [Guitar Hero Live's GHTV] can do, we can bring you that new content and new ways to play without having to ship you a new disc."

Guitar Hero Live's GHTV mode allows FreeStyleGames and Activision to provide players with new content by using a TV channel-like experience that is able to be continually updated. Players strum along to charts that are placed over the band's official music video for the given song.

Michaud attributes this mode as reason to think that annualization and over-saturation won't be a problem for the Guitar Hero franchise this time around. "I think the beauty of the way FreeStyle has developed this game is that you have GHTV as this connected mechanism; this living platform," he says. "It removes the need to bring a new disc to market in order to bring you new music. In 2007, so much of our audience is not even connected. You think of all the people playing on Wii and PlayStation 2 – all of those discs that hit the market came from a good place of so much demand for new music. Even though our genre set was more narrow back then, you've got different time periods, you've got different bands and people want all this content and back then, the solution to bring you that content was to ship a disc. And now, we don't have to do that."

Michaud also confirmed a ballpark number of songs he expects to be available on GHTV at launch. You can check out my hands-on impressions of Guitar Hero Live, which is scheduled to launch later this year, here.

 

Our Take
Guitar Hero Live feels like a solid foundation for the new vision of the franchise. While Activision has rarely resisted the urge to annualize its biggest franchises, this conversation is encouraging and I hope they follow through with a post-launch plan as robust as we've seen in Rock Band's DLC plans.